Update 13 January: 9To5Mac reports that some users - presumably those with an excessive number of refunds on file with Apple - are now receiving a notification when they attempt to make purchases. They are being prompted to agree with the dialog before they can proceed with the purchase. By doing so, they essentially forfeit their right to ask for a refund.
The notice states:
I acknowledge that if I download this app within 14 days of tapping ‘Buy’, I will no longer be eligible to cancel this purchase.
It is unknown what parameters trigger this dialog, but it is likely that you won’t see it unless you blatantly abuse this new refund policy.
Original Post: 9to5Mac and MacRumors report that Apple has introduced a new 14-day no questions asked return policy for iTunes, App Store and iBooks purchases in some European countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy and France.
This can only be described as tremendous news for VoiceOver users in these countries, who will now no longer find themselves out of pocket for inaccessible apps.
Previously, purchases were legally binding once the download was initiated, with Apple offering no official policy on refunds for apps which proved to be inaccessible with VoiceOver. However, many people were able to obtain refunds for inaccessible apps, although this could often depend upon who you spoke with at Apple and how well they understood how VoiceOver worked.
Now, Apple has updated its terms to include a specific no questions asked 14-day return window that includes all purchases apart from gift cards:
Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.
Apple states that it will refund users within two weeks of receiving notice of cancellation either through its Report a Problem feature or a written statement.
The changes appear to be related to a new consumer rights directive in the European Union that introduced a required 14 calendar day right of cancellation or return period for both goods and services purchased in EAA countries.
We can only hope that VoiceOver users outside of Europe will soon be able to take advantage of similar entitlement.